Need full-time councillors after merger

Story appeared in: Torch | July 10th, 2018

CANTERBURY Bankstown Council wants the NSW Government to make provisions for full-time councillors throughout NSW.
Councillors last Tuesday decided to write to the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the Minister for Local Government, Gabrielle Upton, in an effort to establish full-time councillors.
With an amendment from Cr Linda Downey to also include the NSW Local Government Association in the discussions, Labor's Cr Bilal El-Hayek was successful in his resolution last Tuesday.
Cr El-Hayek believes the days of "part-time" councillors are over.
As the state's largest populated council, Cr El-Hayek said there was growing demand and responsibilities placed on Canterbury Bankstown councillors to represent "constituents".
Canterbury Bankstown has one councillor for every 23,663 residents - the largest in NSW - compared with nearby Strathfield, which has a councillor for every 5,732 residents.
"To try and provide our residents with an equitable level of access to the democratic process, we must all spend more time than any of our colleagues from neighbouring councils, often at the expense of our own families," Cr El-Hayek said.
Cr George Zakia, who abstained from voting on the resolution, said he disagreed with the concept of full time councillors.
"We cannot ask for more money to carry out the duties we promised to serve our community with," he said.
"The duties and responsibilities of being elected into such a position, along with the entitlements, are made clear to each and every candidate prior to agreeing to run for election.
"A move like this brings into question the integrity of our campaigns and the oaths we took."

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Publication: Torch | Section: news | Author: Mick Roberts | Story ID: 138322 | Viewcount: 1428